Sixth District Commander Bob Bardy — the longest-serving district commander in the New Orleans Police Department — was promoted Friday morning to Deputy Chief for Operations in the new administration of Superintendent Michael Harrison.
Bardy was named the leader of the Sixth District in the spring of 2006 and was one of the 16 supervisors awarded the new designation of Commander by Superintendent Ronal Serpas in 2011. With his promotion to deputy chief of operations, Bardy will oversee uniformed officers across the entire city.
“It’s hard to make the move after so much time here,” Bardy said, but said he is confident he is leaving the Sixth District in a good place.
The district has a 52 percent clearance rate on violent crime year-to-date, Bardy said. The clearance rate on armed robberies is 47 percent, far higher than national averages.
“About four years ago, we had single digits,” on those clearances, Bardy said.
Bardy praised the work of his investigative unit, dating back to former Lts. Jeff Walls and Frank Young — both of whom are now investigators themselves — and now led by Sgt. Daniel Scanlan.
“You’ve got a good crew, and the crew is going to stay,” Bardy told neighborhood leaders.
Bardy took a hands-on approach to policing his district, redeploying his officers on a weekly basis to crime hotspots in a district that includes neighborhoods as diverse as the Irish Channel, Garden District, Lower Garden District, Central City and Hoffman Triangle. Bardy’s presence was a constant at scenes of violent crime in the district — speaking to residents as well as to his investigating officers — as well as at community meetings.
“We’ve been friends for over 30 years, and we’ve done a lot of things together in this community,” said Barbara Lacen-Keller, a top aide to City Council president Stacy Head known as the “mayor” of Central City. “He knows everybody, and everybody knows him.”
Ultimately, Bardy said, the successes in the Sixth District attributable to the support of the neighborhoods, Bardy told neighborhood leaders.
“This is not a one-person promotion,” Bardy said. “This is something all of us have done together.”
Bardy will be succeeded in the Sixth District by Commander Ronnie Stevens, who was previously supervised investigations in the First District, which covers Mid-City and Treme. A 17-year veteran of the force, Stevens previously served in the Seventh District in New Orleans East, the tactical unit, the bomb squad and the marine unit, the department said.
“He’s a tremendous guy,” Bardy told neighborhood leaders of Stevens, describing him as an experienced street investigator. “Y’all will get about two weeks of him, and you won’t even remember me.”
Neighborhood leaders said this week that they were sad to see Bardy go, but looked forward to meeting his successor.
“Whoever it is, we’re going to work with him, because it’s our community,” said Charmaine Baker-Fox, another Central City community leader.
Deputy Chief Darryl Albert, who previously served as Deputy Chief of Operations, will now lead the department’s investigations bureau.